Four Simple Ways To Be ‘Greener’ At Home

Dennis Norman

There’s plenty of talk today about “going green”, being “environmentally friendly”and “sustainable living”. All around us we see people incorporating things into their lives consistent with the focus of these terms including: using recyclable bags, buying hybrid cars, using mass transportation, buying organic products, etc.

For those of us that threw out their Birkenstocks years ago (or don’t have a clue what they are), don’t shop at Whole Foods, drive a gas-guzzling SUV and, the big one, ask for our milk to be put in a bag at the grocery store, but still want to do a little something to be “greener”, Apartments.Com just published a list of four simple ways we can do our part at home:
  • Close Vents When Not In Use – Whether it’s summer or winter, closing up vents in rooms that you don’t spend a lot of time in is a smart way to cut back on utility costs. Why heat or cool a room that no one is in? Keep the door to the room that you’re not heating or cooling closed.
  • Use Power Strips to Avoid “Phantom Load.” – A phantom load is the energy sapped by appliances when they are plugged in but not turned on – accounting for 40% of the energy bill in the average home! Plug your appliances into power strips to turn off your TV, DVD, stereo, and cell phone charger in one fell swoop. If 10,000 people plug their cable boxes into power strips that are turned off when they are not watching TV, we’ll save about $300,000 per year.
  • Purify the Air. – No, we’re not talking about plugging in those noisy and energy-sucking air purifiers. Instead get the right plants to do the dirty work naturally. One plant for every 10 square yards ought to do the trick. If 10,000 people unplugged their 24-hour electric air purifiers in favor of air-filtering plants, you could power a 29-story office building for a month.
  • Hang It Out to Dry.- Drying your freshly washed clothes on high heat not only uses a lot of energy, but it also drives the temperature in your home up, triggering the AC to work even harder during the summer. Shift your laundry routine to hanging your clothes out to dry on a clothing line or drying rack. Air drying your laundry conserves energy and saves money while eliminating static cling! Don’t have a yard or a drying rack? No worries. You can hang garments from the shower rod.
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